May 25th, 2018 / 0 comments

You can tell [Pattinson’s] decisions are very curated, much more complex, auteur-driven work.  He’s very particular about what he’s part of, and has a very distinctive point of view, something that made us very interested in him.”

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Magnolia Pictures have added the Damsel press kit to their website.  It contains some great HQ and one UHQ picture and this new still above.  It also contains the production notes which contains SPOILERS, so if you haven’t seen the film and want to remain spoiler free, I recommend you just read the extracts below.  If you’ve seen the film or don’t mind huge spoilers, you can check out the press kit HERE.

From Production Notes:

To enable their kind of subtly absurd style of storytelling, the Zellners had a certain kind of actor in mind.  “We wanted two people to do something they hadn’t done before,” David explains, “so that the audience comes into it with certain expectations of them and sees them do something else,” comedy, in particular.  “We’d rather people come to this looking at it as a drama that gets really absurd and funny, rather than a comedy that then gets a little heavy.  And we wanted that to be reflective of the cast.”

While ROBERT PATTINSON is probably best-known for his work earlier in his career in the Twilight film series, the Zellners were drawn to him for his more recent work.  “He’s made very interesting choices, as an actor, as he’s gotten bigger, both in the roles he accepts and the filmmakers he chooses to work with,” David notes.  “You can tell his decisions are very curated, much more complex, auteur-driven work.  He’s very particular about what he’s part of, and has a very distinctive point of view, something that made us very interested in him.”

Pattinson was already a fan of the Zellner Bros., having found himself quite taken with Kumiko.  “It just felt very, very unique,” the actor explains.  “There’s just something so odd – but doesn’t feel like it’s being odd just for the sake of being odd.  There’s a lot of heart to it, and it has wonderful performances.  They have a unique style, and that’s all I’m looking for in scripts.”  In fact, when he read the script for Damsel, Pattinson didn’t make the connection of who its potential filmmakers were.  “I’d seen the script for Damsel, which was so odd.  And it took me a second to connect when I met with them.  ‘Oh – these guys made Kumiko, and they’re making this – a completely bizarre western?’  I just loved the idea.”

The subtle story and underlying levels of Samuel’s character were especially appealing.  “There’s something very off-kilter about him – I’ve never really seen a character like Samuel before.”  Adds David, “We knew he could deliver a character that looked a certain way on the surface, but had a lot more going on underneath.”

Pattinson also liked the idea of a more physical role, as the part required (horseback riding and elsewhere), something he took quite seriously.  “It’s my attempt at slapstick,” he laughs.

The brothers were pleased that an actor of Pattinson’s reputation was so engaged in the idea.  “He was really willing to stick his neck out with it, and it’s a challenging role to do,” David relates.  “He was up for the adventure, and fully committed.  We loved working with him.”

Samuel Alabaster is indeed an interesting character.  He’s honor-bound, and presented as heroic, virtuous and dedicated.  “He’s very driven in what his goals are – everything from laying out his plans to just his presence,” David explains.  “We wanted to play with the idea of someone with those kind of virtuous, heroic qualities that you can buy into without even having a lot of backstory. . . and then it shifts.”  Notes Pattinson, “He believes he’s the hero of the piece, up until the very end.”

Samuel speaks with a kind of western dialect – as do most of the characters – which the Zellners had much fun writing.  “It came from seeing a lot of westerns over the years – as well as a lot of Looney Tunes, Yosemite Sam, in particular,” David notes.

“There’s a confusion about where he’s actually from,” Pattinson details.  “He presents himself as a bit of a dandy and kind of educated, as somewhat ‘East Coast.’  But he isn’t particularly smart at all.  Literally, he’s just a hustler.”  Delivering such classic-western language also came intuitively, from watching the same westerns.  “There’s something very familiar about that kind of dialect.  But I also like the fact that the Zellners would keep the traditional western verbiage, and then put in completely modern phrases – which have clearly been deigned from a therapist.”

… Both actors’ ability to play their characters straight and just allow the absurdity to show up served the Zellners’ style and sense of humor perfectly.  “One of the things that Dave and I talked about in pre-production was about making sure every character had a quality of truth and sincerity,” Nathan Zellner explains.  “We’re introducing weird elements, like odd characters or a miniature horse – and if the lead characters are not sincere, then it’s easy to write those off as a one-note jokes.  So it’s important, from the audience’s standpoint, that they really believe them as true characters, which Robert and Mia are able to pull off so well.  It helps the humor of it, without coming across as a spoof.  They come across as real people with weird stuff going on.”

Robert Pattinson added his own touch – a gray metal front tooth. “I wanted to have something to do with the teeth, either a gap or metal,” the actor relates. “Something persnickety, because he’s quite anal. And there’s something about the tooth that just makes your face look wonky.” The Zellners not only welcomed, but encouraged their actors to contribute, David says. “Rob and Mia were both involved in their wardrobe, and both had really great ideas.”

Rob’s Bio

ROBERT PATTINSON (“Samuel”) maintains a fearless pursuit of challenging roles, evolving with each new project and captivating global audiences with his transformative performances.

Pattinson recently received Best Actor nominations from both the Independent Spirit Awards and the Gotham awards for his role as “Constantine Nikas” in Josh and Benny Safdie’s Good Time. The film, released by A24, premiered at the 2017 Cannes International Film Festival to a six-minute standing ovation. He previously starred in James Gray’s The Lost City of Z opposite Charlie Hunnam, Sienna Miller and Tom Holland. The true-life drama follows British explorer Percival Fawcett, who disappeared while searching for a mysterious city in the Amazon in the 1920s.

Pattinson recently wrapped production on Claire Denis’ High Life. He will star alongside Mia Wasikowska in David and Nathan Zellner’s western Damsel, which will premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. In 2015, Pattinson appeared in Anton Corbijn’s Life, a film about the friendship between Life magazine photographer Dennis Stock, played by Pattinson, and James Dean, played by Dane Dehaan. He also starred in Werner Herzog’s Queen of the Desert opposite Nicole Kidman.

In 2014, he starred in David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars opposite Mia Wasikowska, Julianne Moore & John Cusack as well as with Guy Pierce in David Michôd’s The Rover. Both films premiered at the 2014 Cannes International Film Festival.

Additional film credits include David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis; he also joined Francis Lawrence and costars Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz in bringing the New York Times bestselling novel Water For Elephants to the screen for Fox. Prior, he headlined the drama Remember Me, directed by Allen Coulter, appearing opposite Pierce Brosnan, Chris Cooper and Emilie De Ravin. Pattinson also starred in Bel Ami, a film based on the novel of the same name written by Guy de Maupassant in which he played a young journalist in Paris who betters himself through his connections to the city’s most glamorous and influential women, played by Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas and Christina Ricci.

Pattinson gained industry notice at 19 years of age when he joined the Harry Potter franchise in Mike Newell‘s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, playing Cedric Diggory, Hogwarts’ official representative in the Triwizard Tournament. He is known for his portrayal of the vampire “Edward Cullen” in The Twilight Saga.

Pattinson began his professional career with a role in Uli Edel’s Sword of Xanten, opposite Sam West and Benno Furmann. He also appeared in director Oliver Irving’s How to Be, winner of the Slamdance Film Festival’s Special Honorable Mention for Narrative Feature. Pattinson played the lead role of Salvador Dali in Little Ashes, directed by Paul Morrison. His television credits include “The Haunted Airman” for the BBC.

As a member of the Barnes Theatre Group, Pattinson played the lead role in Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town.” Other stage credits include Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes,” “Tess of the D’Urbevilles” and “Macbeth” at the OSO Arts Centre.

He has been the face of Dior Homme’s fragrance since 2013 and is the face of Dior Homme ready-to-wear. Additionally, Pattinson is actively involved with the GO Campaign, an international charity organization improving the lives of orphans and vulnerable children around the world through local solutions. He was named as their first ambassador in 2015.

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